Early survey gives nod to rockfish production Despite cold, wet spring, spawning numbers high

July 21, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The Department of Natural Resources has completed the first round of the young-of-the-year survey in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and early indications are that rockfish production has been very good.

Dorothy L. Leonard, director of fisheries services for DNR, said last week that while the young-of-the-year survey "looks really good" after the first of three rounds of sampling at 22 sites, she was hesitant to declare it a banner year for rockfish reproduction.

"We were concerned [about the rockfish spawn] because of the cold, wet spring," said Leonard. "But it looks really good at this point, and for that we are glad."

The survey produces a young-of-the-year index, which is expressed as a number. The long-term average is 8, but for several years the index has been higher.

Other sources at DNR characterized the first round of the survey as "excellent" and "absolutely unbelievable."

The third round of the survey will be completed in September.

Powerboat races

Next weekend, the Chesapeake Challenge, two days of offshore powerboat races, will be held off Kent Island, south of the Bay Bridge.

Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Association and sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association, the competition has drawn more than 60 entrants. The largest boats in the field will be close to 50 feet in length and have engines totaling 4,000 horsepower.

"Maryland is really coming into its own with regard to major boating events," said race director Ken Stafford of Ridgely. "These are world-class drivers and crews, and their boats are top-notch, million-dollar machines."

Racing will begin at noon on Saturday and at 1: 30 p.m. next Sunday. Spectator areas will be set up at the Bay Bridge Marina and Matapeake State Park. Admission will be $10 for adults.

Those who watch the races from their boats must anchor in designated areas along the race course.

For information, call (410) 758-2331.

White Marlin Open

Each August, the White Marlin Open draws thousands of spectators and boatloads of fishermen to Harbour Island Marina in Ocean City, where this year close to $1 million in prize money could be awarded.

Last year, the open paid out $800,000, including $286,000 and $193,000 for the two largest white marlin and $192,000 for the heaviest blue marlin.

This year's tournament will run Aug. 5-9, with registration at the marina on 14th Street from 1 to 5 p.m., Aug. 3 and 4.

Weigh-ins will be held each fishing day from 4: 30 p.m. to 9: 15 p.m.

For information, call (410) 289-9229.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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